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  • The Weekly Genealogist

  • Vol. 15, No. 3
    Whole #566
    January 18, 2012
    Edited by Lynn Betlock, Jean Powers, and Valerie Beaudrault


    Greetings from the New England Historic Genealogical Society! This newsletter has been sent to people who asked to receive it. If you would like to unsubscribe or change your email address, please click on the link at the bottom of the email and follow the instructions provided.

    NEHGS collects, preserves, and interprets materials to document and make accessible the histories of families in America.

    * NEHGS Database News
    * NEHGS Welcomes Two New Key Staff Members
    * New from NEHGS! From Deference to Defiance: Charlestown, Massachusetts, 1629–1692
    * RootsTech 2012
    * A Note from the Editor: Online Genealogical Presentations
    * Name Origins
    * This Week’s Survey
    * Spotlight: Conway, New Hampshire, Public Library
    * Stories of Interest
    * Classic Reprints
    * Upcoming Education Programs
    * NEHGS Contact Information


    NEHGS Database News

    by Sam Sturgis, Digital Collections Administrator, and Ryan Woods, Director of Internet Technology

    The Virginia Genealogist

    The Virginia Genealogist database, now completed, includes volumes 1 through 49, publication years 1957 to 2005. Edited and published by John Fredrick Dorman from 1957 to 2005, The Virginia Genealogist has a reputation for quality research and genealogical information not available elsewhere. Topics include compiled genealogies, personal property tax lists (which serve as useful substitutes for non-existent census records), and other local record abstracts, including court orders, deeds, wills, marriage registers, and other county sources. Also included are a wide variety of transcriptions and abstracts of Bible, church, military, and mercantile records.

    With this addition of the final 36,750 records, this 482,790 record database is now complete.

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    NEHGS Welcomes Two New Key Staff Members

    Leah Walczak, the new Director of Education, joined the staff on October 26, just in time to accompany the NEHGS Salt Lake City research tour. She has since been busy organizing the next twelve months of programming. Leah has more than ten years of experience in museum and cultural education, public programs, administration, and community engagement. She previously served as Museum Operations Manager for Historic New England, where she supervised the management, marketing, and educational programming of thirty-six historic sites. Leah’s prior experience includes education roles at the Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell University and Historic St. Mary’s City in Maryland. She holds a B.A. in anthropology from Cornell and an M.A. in museum studies from Syracuse University. Leah can be reached at 617-226-1226 and at

    Suzanne Stewart joined the Society on November 21 as Director of Research Services. Since her arrival, Suzanne has been familiarizing herself with the Society’s burgeoning case load and incoming research cases. Suzanne is a long-time genealogical researcher and for the last seventeen years has been a principal of a web-based professional genealogy research firm. She is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists, co-administrator of the Moelich family DNA project, and a volunteer for the New York Italian Genealogical Group and the cemetery website FindaGrave. Suzanne holds a degree from Dean College. Suzanne can be reached at 617-226-1242 and at

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    New from NEHGS! From Deference to Defiance: Charlestown, Massachusetts, 1629–1692

    By Roger Thompson
    6 x 9, 650 pp., illus.
    Available in hardcover, $44.95, and paperback, $27.95

    This book recreates the lost world of 17th-century Charlestown, and the lives and work of the first three generations of its townspeople. By using a variety of surviving records, Thompson presents a colorful history of the town’s settlement and governance, its relationship with the land and sea, the church, local crime and vio­lence, the role of women, and, ultimately, its involvement in the Glorious Revolution.

    “Quite possibly the best modern study of any seventeenth-century New England town,

    From Deference to Defiance provides a wealth of information about the people who created Charlestown and turned it into a thriving seaside community.” —David D. Hall, Bartlett Research Professor of New England Church History, Harvard Divinity School, Harvard University

    Order your copy today!

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    RootsTech 2012

    February 2–4, Salt Lake City, Utah

    NEHGS is one of the sponsors of RootsTech 2012, a family history and technology conference. The conference is designed to bring technologists together with genealogists of all skill levels, so they can learn from each other and find solutions to the challenges faced in family history research today. Speakers will include representatives from Google, Instructure,, and FamilySearch.

    The RootsTech 2012 Conference venue is near the Family History Library so attendees can benefit from both the conference and the resources of the FHL.

    Visit RootsTech 2012 to register and explore topics, sessions, speakers, and conference offerings.

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    A Note from the Editor: Online Genealogical Presentations
    by Lynn Betlock, Editor

    The National Archives has released a series of online videos of its genealogy workshops on YouTube. Topics include introductions to military, immigration, and census records.

    The National Archives has also made a wide range of other material available on its YouTube site. For more specifically genealogical presentations, select the “Know Your Records” and the “1940 Census” playlists. You can also learn more about the presidential libraries; view War Comes to America (1945), part seven of Frank Capra’s Why We Fight propaganda film series; and watch 1930s films about national parks.

    FamilySearch also offers genealogical instruction in its Learning Center. Currently, the site features two formats, video and audio with interactive slides. Presentations include twenty-five “Five Minute Genealogy Episodes,” an England Beginning Research series, a U.S. Midwest Beginning Research series, and much more.’s Learning Center also offers a number of videos on information sources and research challenges.

    Britain’s National Archives offers a selection of family history videos on topics including civil registration, the 1911 census, the manorial documents register, and child emigration to Canada, on its website. has also made several video family history tutorials on British research available on its website.

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    Name Origins
    by Julie Helen Otto, Staff Genealogist

    COMFORT (m/f): A Puritan “virtue name,” a name expressing some desirable moral quality or life instruction which parents hoped a child would emulate. In this case, the “comfort” aimed at would be far more spiritual than physical — such as the comfort of knowing God, or knowing that a loved one had died “at peace in Christ.” COMFORT was used as a male name by the Starr family of Massachusetts and Connecticut, and appears as a female name in many other families.

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    This Week's Survey

    Last week’s survey asked about membership in early settler lineage societies. The results are:

    • 55%, No, I do not belong to an early settler lineage society.
    • 31%, Yes, I belong to one or more early settler lineage societies.
    • 14%, I intend to join an early settler lineage society.

    This week's survey asks which genealogical software program you use. Take the survey now!

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    Spotlight: Conway, New Hampshire, Public Library
    by Valerie Beaudrault, Assistant Editor

    Conway Public Library, New Hampshire

    The town of Conway is located in Carroll County and is on the New Hampshire–Maine border. The genealogy and local history resources of the Conway Public Library may be found in the Nella Braddy Henney History Room, which was established in 1976. Its holdings include materials for New Hampshire and Oxford County, Maine, along with family histories, maps, photographs, and other items, most of which pertain to the immediate region. Some of the resources of the Henney History Room have been made available online. These include vital statistics, cemetery records, and local history volumes.

    Vital Statistics Since 1880
    The source documents of the records in the vital statistics databases are the Annual Reports for the Town of Conway. Birth and death records begin in 1880. There are some marriages records in the database prior to 1880. The records are fully searchable.

    The data fields in the birth records database are last name; first name; date of birth; gender; number of child (birth order); father's name; mother's maiden name; residence; father's occupation; father's birthplace; and mother's birthplace. The birth records database includes records for children born as late as 2010.

    The data fields in the marriage records database are participant; wed to; date; age; place of marriage; residence; place of birth; occupation; marital status; father's name; father's birthplace; father's occupation; mother's name; and mother's occupation. The marriage database includes records through the end of 1991.

    The data fields in the death records database are last name; first name; date of death; place of death; age; place of birth; gender; father's place of birth; mother's place of birth; father's name; and mother's name. The death records database includes records for individuals who died between 1880 and 2010.

    Under the Deaths link you will also find a list of Conway cemeteries and searchable cemetery record databases. The data fields in the Cemetery List include cemetery name, cemetery number, description of the cemetery’s location, and the name of the organization that maintains the cemetery. The library has a numbered map showing cemetery locations.

    Cemetery Records
    The Cemetery Records homepage contains links to databases for the following towns: Albany, Conway — which has forty-six cemeteries — and Eaton in New Hampshire, as well as Brownfield, Maine. The records in the searchable cemetery databases have been updated through 1980. There are also links to the cemetery records of Fryeburg, Maine, found on the Fryeburg Historical Society’s website, and the New Hampshire Old Graveyard Association website. The data fields for all four cemeteries are last name, first name, family, date of birth, date of death, age at death, cemetery name, section, block, and note. Information found in the family field includes names of family members. Information in the notes field includes military service, membership in veteran’s organizations, place of birth, place of death, and name of person who erected the gravestone.

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    Stories of Interest

    One of Darwin’s "extinct" Galápagos tortoise species probably isn’t extinct, after all
    “This is the first rediscovery of a species by way of tracking the genetic footprints left in the genomes of its hybrid offspring.”

    After Century of Silence, Old South Bell Rings
    Boston’s oldest clock tower recently rang out for the first time in almost a century and a half, thanks to a newly-installed Paul Revere bell.

    Return to Shtetl Gives Texture to Reporter’s Family History
    A visit to Shatsk in western Ukraine enriched the author’s understanding of his family’s past.

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    Classic Reprints

    Did you know that the NEHGS Book Store offers library-quality copies of over 10,000 rare and out-of-print books? Some titles ordered by recent customers include:

    • Records of the Town of Tisbury, Massachusetts, Beginning June 29, 1669 and Ending May 16, 1864 (Item P5-MA0500H, $87)
    • Records of the First Church at Dorchester, Massachusetts, in New England, 1636–1734. (Item P5-MA0526S, $27.50)
    • Richmond Co., Virginia, Wills. 1699–1800. (Item P5-VA0034S, $22)
    • Probate Records of Lincoln County, Maine, 1760–1800 (Item P5-ME0256H, $47)
    • Old Houses of the Ancient Town of Norwich, Connecticut, 1660–1800 (Item P5-CT0105H, $67)

    Search the entire Classic Reprints catalog. If you would like a list of FAQs and search tips for the Classic Reprints catalog, simply send an email with "Classic Reprints" in the subject line to

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    Upcoming Education Programs

    African American History and Genealogy Day
    Wednesday, February 8
    9 a.m. – 9 p.m.

    Join us for a free day of research and learn about African American family history. NEHGS Online Genealogist David Allen Lambert will help you learn how to trace African American ancestors, author and historian Alex R. Goldfeld will present stories of Boston’s earliest African American community, and former Executive Director of the Springfield Museums and author Joseph Carvalho III will share his revised edition of Black Families in Hampden County, Massachusetts 1650-1865, recently published by NEHGS. The lecture will be followed by a book signing and reception. All participants will receive free access to the NEHGS research library for the day, with ample time for research.

    Free; registration required. Call 617-226-1226 to register.

    Albany Research Tour
    Wednesday, July 11 – Sunday, July 15

    Our first trip to Albany, N.Y., in July 2011, was such a success we’re offering a repeat trip. If you missed your chance last year, sign up now and join NEHGS as we explore the vast resources of the New York State Archives in Albany. The trip includes individual consultations, lectures, a reception, and a group dinner. Space is limited.

    Tuition (includes four nights’ lodging at the Crowne Plaza Hotel): single, $785; double (shared lodging with another participant), $585 per person; double with non-researching guest, $935; commuter (no lodging), $185.

    More information is available at

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    NEHGS Contact Information

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    Copyright 2012, New England Historic Genealogical Society
    99–101 Newbury Street, Boston, MA 02116

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New England Historic Genealogical Society
99 - 101 Newbury Street
Boston, Massachusetts 02116, USA

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